West Va. voters say yes to stocks amendment

September 28, 1997


Staff Writer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -- Eastern Panhandle voters Saturday followed their counterparts across the state by overwhelmingly approving by 3-1 a constitutional amendment that allows the state to invest public money in the stock market.

And like voters across the state, Panhandle residents turned out in low numbers, local election officials said.

The percentages in all three eastern West Virginia counties ranged from a low of 7 percent in Berkeley County, to 11 percent in Morgan and 12 in Jefferson.

The amendment passed 1,862 to 518 in Berkeley County; 1,189 to 325 in Jefferson and 455 to 280 in Morgan.

John Small, county clerk in Berkeley County, said only 2,380 of that county's 32,701 registered voters cast ballots. "It was the lowest turnout I can remember," said Small who has been working for the county since the 1950s. "It's also the quickest count we've had," he said.


Ralph Shambaugh, county clerk in Morgan County, said the amendment failed to pass in only two of 13 precincts there, Great Cacapon and Greenwood. "There was just no interest in it," Shambaugh said. "People were asking me, what election."

A spokeswoman in the Jefferson County clerk's office said there wasn't enough interest in the issue to turn out many voters. Only 1,509 of the county's 18,453 registered voters went to the polls.

Approval of the amendment means the Investment Management Board, created by the Legislature to handle the state's money, can put up to 20 percent in stocks in the first year, 40 percent in the second year and 60 percent after that.

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